From project to startup and back

Nowmad is a social map to exchange experiences about your special places with your friends. Today it is also a community platform that we hope will continue growing with your feedback, your code, your ideas... and anything you want to bring in.Nowmad’s journey has been exciting, bumpy and incredibly worthy to go through. I will try to explain you the experiences and learnings we had and how they shaped us to where we are today.

Nowmad map

Nowmad’s trip around the world

Once upon a time…

4 years ago, back in 2014, Nowmad started as a project between friends. We were in our first job and dreamed about travelling, meeting other cultures and explore the world. Where to start was a big question.We were in a city with a lot of transit of young people from different countries. They were telling stories about the most amazing experiences and we wanted to live them all!! Those friends were our inspiration to go out and enjoy the world.What if we could collect all their experiences in a map? We were super excited about that idea and with a push of some friends we decided to start building ‘something’. It could be a website, a mobile app… but it will definitely be a social map.

The Project

We used my studies in User Experience Design to develop our idea and apply these new learnings to Nowmad. During the master everything started to move fast for Nowmad. We got our first prototype based on a deep research in users, development constrains and market.

Nowmad desktop

1st Desktop version for Nowmad (called Travel Network at that time)After this shot of motivation and having evolve so much in Nowmad, we had to focus on getting some more learnings in the business world and earn our living. Working brought us amazing experiences and the opportunity of working with great teams, some of them are very good friends today. We also started travelling more, from Barcelona to Costa Rica, Munich and Vietnam. But Nowmad was always in our heads. Every few months we decided to continue working in Nowmad as a side project or even take breaks from our jobs to focus on it, but it never last too long. The cost of living and the input of learning with bigger teams always brought us back to have a job which left Nowmad as a side project.Early this year (2018) we started to feel overwhelmed having a full-time job and spending the nights and weekends working in Nowmad. Work, travel and side project were too much. There was a commitment decision to be done.

Nowmad autumn

Okey, it wasn’t always that bad ;)

The Start-Up

Choosing Nowmad meant we needed to find investment to support our lives. We decided to apply to YC which meant we needed to ideate a business plan. We researched a lot on where the other social medias were getting their revenue from, and talked to some friends in the field. It was very hard to decide how to present Nowmad as a business without compromising our philosophy, but we went down with it.We got rejected from YC’s accelerator program but accepted at YC’s Start-Up School Advisor Track. Although Start-Up School was not providing a financial help for Nowmad, we decided to fly to San Francisco and make the most out of this 10 weeks school.During the 2 months of the Start-Up School we have been taught how to target the market, product growth and we had an overview of all the steps to go through when creating a start-up. We have spend more time doing that than building the features we and our users want Nowmad to have.


Y Combinator, Mountain View, CA.

The Project again

Here is our leaning: Nowmad is not a business. It is a product that we enjoy building and using; and that you should enjoy too without worrying about advertisement or how your data is being used. As a business, it would probably end up going against the philosophy behind Nowmad, so we go back today to a side project mode.We will try to keep adding some features, responding to users feedbacks, but keeping it as a side project now that the biggest part is done.You should know that NOWMAD IS READY !! It is out there and you can use it (

Nowmad YC

Nowmad goes back to it’s community. Use it, enjoy it and share it! All the code is available online and we would be more than happy to exchange about your vision of Nowmad, talk about the possible evolutions and build it all together.Remember that all the experiences you have are valuable for your friends and probably for more people. Let’s bring the over tourism down and the positive impact of tourism up by sharing the most amazing experiences in un-known places with your friends.

Nowmad Showcase

Make trustable recommendations to your friends about the best places

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Hey ! I'm Julien.
Here I wander through thoughts and code